I was having trouble with a patient’s upper back. I had made good progress with it but there was just one area that would not get better. It affected her posture. Finally one day, I asked if she wore glasses. She said she didn’t but that she had had LASIK many years ago and her vision was getting worse again. Ok, well that gave me a good clue about why her back was so stiff causing her to have bad posture.

Eye AnatomyThe next time she came in, I checked her upper back and neck. It was really stiff still in the area of her upper back that I had been struggling with. Next I proceeded to do nothing else but to treat her eyes. Her corneas were both tense. Using my fingers I gently worked to release them and other tensions on the eyeball itself. Then I began working on her extra ocular muscles (the muscles that move the eye) by balancing the tension between them and the bones they attach into. Once all that was freed up, then I could feel tension onto the optic nerve and into the occipital lobe of the brain.

There was still some tension left in her eye, which I feel has to do with the LASIK’s effect on her vision and eyeball. I wanted to see if I was on the right track. Her neck was much less stiff but more importantly the stubborn rigidity I had not been able to release previously, was gone. The patient described feeling her neck, back, skull, and even brain relax while I worked on her eyes.

My feeling is that she may need regular treatments because of how her eyes have been permanently altered, but this is a great reminder of the osteopathic principle that the body functions as a unit. It’s always important to look at the whole body and include all structures. Without treating the right places, then it may not have ever released. It would not have mattered if I had worked on that spot for 20 years. If I had never treated her eyes, then it would have likely stayed the way it was.

This also serves as a good reminder that posture is not necessarily caused by people holding themselves in the wrong position for too long as much as how the tensions in the body are playing out. This patient did not choose to have “bad” posture. The tension in her eyes and vision were having an effect on her spine that did not allow her to stand straight. The body often operates this way even if the issue is not stemming from her eyes.


A Case Of Eyes And Posture: Osteopathic Considerations

4 thoughts on “A Case Of Eyes And Posture: Osteopathic Considerations

  • September 8, 2015 at 1:36 am

    Just set off on a second career as an osteopath. I love your approach. You make it sound so.very simple. That’s the sort of osteopath I want to be. It’s how I was as a headteacher. I guess it will come with time, patience, study and practice..thank you for a very interesting article.

    • September 8, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      Hi Nigel, Thanks for the comment. Just remember that all structures are fair game. Your job is to figure out the bigger picture and how it causes the patient’s problems. Your approach doesn’t have to be complicated, but it can be simple. It’s all applied anatomy and understanding how structures will affect each other. Good luck!

  • January 30, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Hello Daniel,
    Greetings from an English osteopath. I have just been revisiting this article, and then noticed the podcast version! Really enjoyed that, as there was more osteopathic comment and content. I have worked on eyes in the past, but not having done so for a while it’s slipped out of my current “tool box” – Listening to this – a particular patient of mine came to mind, I’m itching to try this next time she comes in! Many thanks – I shall now have to make sure that I listen to your articles as well as read them….

    • February 5, 2016 at 5:50 pm

      Hi Christina,

      Thanks for checking it out. Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Hope to have more article soon.

      Take care,



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